The mandatory evacuation ordered for Calcasieu Parish in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura has been lifted as of 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.
The proclamation was announced by Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Tony Guillory two weeks and one day after the storm, in a news conference Friday.
Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said the lifting of the order was made after consultation with parish mayors and other officials. The parish-wide curfew, from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Beam advised those in hotels in other areas to keep their hotel room until after they’ve surveyed their property, as they may determine it is unfit for living. He said residents should still be prepared to be self-sufficient. There are a limited amount of businesses open. Goods and services are a minimum.
Some things to keep in mind if considering a return to Calcasieu. Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Dick Gremillion said there are more areas of the parish without electricity than there are with. He said this makes for dangerous driving conditions at night because there are not traffic signs, traffic lights or street lights.
He said the increase in population, with its corresponding increase in traffic, has the potential to slow the progress of utility companies. He asked residents to be patient with debris haulers. Though all water districts have water pressure, most are under a boil advisory.
Sewer systems are mostly functional.
Emergency services are still limited at this time and there remains a shortage of emergency room and ICU capacity. Gremillion said those with a medical emergency will likely be transported out of the parish for treatment.
There is no shelter available in the parish. Gremillion reported that “almost every public building in the parish is damaged.”
He said the heat and humidity in the area at this time makes it dangerous to try and stay in a home without power if you don’t have a generator. He reminded residents that COVID-19 is still an issue and that masks should still be worn.
To find feeding and supply sites near you, visit @ARCLouisiana on Twitter or Facebook.com/ARCLouisiana.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ free tarp program through Operation Blue Roof ends Sept. 21. All Calcasieu residents, with shingle or metal roofs are eligible. To apply, call 1-888-ROOF-BLU or visit: www.usace.army.mil/blueroof//